Tracking the Omnichannel Evolution
Tracking the Omnichannel Evolution: from Ecommerce to Product Documentation
As with many business approaches that prove to be far more influential and useful than first imagined, the omnichannel concept has its roots in the world of sales.
Specifically, businesses were rightfully concerned that their customers – especially online, though in brick and mortar environments as well — were encountering too much friction on their journey from new prospect to raving fan. And so to prevent this, businesses elevated “seamless” and “one-stop” into guiding principles for everything from user experience to sales funnels, and watched as both sales results and customer satisfaction numbers climbed. Everyone went home a winner.
Seamless, Consistent & Agreeable
Of course, customers don’t care one bit whether this approach is called omnichannel, or anything else for that matter. What they care about – and this obviously pre-dates ecommerce and the web – is getting the information they want and the support they need, so they can move forward and solve their problem or achieve their goal. This journey can be measured in minutes (b2c) or months (b2b), but that’s just a matter of degree. The fundamentals are the same: customers don’t just want a seamless, consistent and agreeable experience, they demand it. As noted, businesses that have responded to this need are reaping the rewards. And those that will be arriving to the omnichannel party in the months ahead will join them. As they say, better late than never.
A Twist in the Omnichannel Story
However, there is a very interesting – and unexpected – twist to the story; one that has caught many businesses off guard, including those that were early adopters of the omnichannel approach in a sales context: customers are now applying their “seamless, consistent and agreeable experience” expectations to product documentation.
Indeed, while websites, brochures, catalogs, and other conventional marketing collateral (digital or print) remain important, customers are increasingly checking out product documentation before they buy, so they can:
- Gauge if a business is trustworthy and is likely to fulfill its promise to provide after-sales support.
- Learn more about a specific product offering or a group of offerings (i.e. product line).
- Connect with other customers through community groups and other platforms/portals where product documentation lives, so they can get advice and insights.
In other words, while product documentation is not being morphed into marketing collateral – they are distinct assets, as technical writers and copywriters will passionately attest! – customers are capturing product documentation into their “buyer’s journey” framework.
Product Documentation: The Weakest Link
The good news here, is that businesses don’t have to spend time researching and analyzing what their customers want: they’ve seen this omnichannel story play out on their sales landscape, and they grasp the unwanted consequences of non-delivery.
The bad news here, is that many businesses are discovering –often through critical comments on social media in their own customer community – that their product documentation is not delivering a seamless, consistent and agreeable experience; which is damaging their brand and threatening sales. To put this differently: in their attempt to win over the hearts, minds and ultimately the wallets of their customers, businesses are realizing that their product documentation is a weak link; not because the content is bad (because it’s usually amazing), but because it’s not being updated and distributed effectively or consistently.
Fortunately, we can return to the good news channel, because businesses can efficiently and cost-effectively fortify their product documentation — so that it supports the omnichannel experience and expectation, rather than works against it — by using Zoomin Docs.
About Zoomin Docs
Zoomin Docs extends a business’s product knowledge by providing a single, centralized platform for all documentation and support content. As a result, businesses can:
- Seamlessly deliver their product documentation and support articles with a dynamic publishing solution that integrates with all leading content management systems and authoring tools and supports DITA and XML-based structured content.
- Consistently join product content silos to supply personalized, topic-based documentation and support articles in one central hub, and deliver outstanding content across websites and mobile, to in-store and beacons.
- Agreeably allow customers to gain easy access to the answers they need from any location or device, and put customers at the center of every interaction.
Ultimately, businesses can leverage Zoomin Docs to make their omnichannel experience a competitive advantage to promote – rather than a vulnerability to protect – as they deliver impressive, high-impact product documentation that builds brand loyalty, drives demand, and increase lifetime customer value.